March 1, 2018
Martin Luther Kings’ sermon attacks the fundamentals racists and pro-white nationalists believe. With segregation still being commonplace and a big topic of discussion between white and black Americans, things cannot continue like this, like Rosa parks who did not want to give up her seat on the bus to a white person and ended up getting arrested for such a simple act. This form of injustice cannot be tolerated anymore. Only with calm and tactful dialogue between races is going to change anything. Martin Luther Kings’ provocative and thoughtful sermon about his American dream is an excellent example of proactive and peaceful protest on the current state of rights and freedoms the African Americans have in the mid-20th century America.
Nothing is going to change if people just go out rioting and breaking things. For example, by looking into what happened in places like Charlottesville in 2017, all the senseless violence that happened that day only ended up making people hate each other more and have people killed in the process. Contrasting this with Kings’ approach to protest; not with violence or with shouting into peoples faces that do not agree with you, but with peaceful and passionate dialogue in order to get things done. He declares that “we refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation” (King 99). Luther calls out the American nation thinking that there are not being enough rights and freedom left for the African Americans, he calls out the hypocritical Americans that would rather things stay the same and keep on being racists for no justifiable reason. With his peaceful and pacifist tone, he not only is able to convey his message to a crowd of nearly 250’000 people, being recorded, broadcasted worldwide, but he gets his voice heard and people can take him seriously. To further his point, Luther uses repetition to emphasize the “fierce urgency” (King 99) of the situation. He often repeats the things that the African American do not have and should have access to after these “one hundred years later” (King 99). Things like his “dream” (King 99), his dream for the future of freedom for black citizens in America, being “satisfied” (King 100) of the present circumstances, letting “freedom ring” (King 101) of his message of peace and freedom across the vast nation of America, and finally his dream for his people to be “free at last” (King 101). Kings’ peaceful tone throughout his sermon emphasizes the seriousness of the matter at hand.
The mention of injustice, oppression, and hypocrisy is thoroughly acknowledged throughout Kings’ speech without hesitation. He reminds everyone attending the sermon about how the black man is still not free and equal when it comes to the rights and freedoms of the “negro” (King 99) in 20th America. His stance on the matter is of great urgency, he demands things to happen now and not pushed off later like a “tranquilizing drug of gradualism” (King 99). Luther remarks that “it is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note in so far as her citizens of color are concerned” (King 99). Inequality among other things is a common subject throughout Kings’ sermon, he calls people who live through persecution, oppression, and police brutality “veterans of creative suffering” (King 99). This proactive criticism does not blame the white Americans for their shameful acts, but to repent of their sins and accept the African Americans as if they were their own brothers and sisters. His dream to have “little black boys and black girls be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as brothers and sisters” (King 101) will soon be a reality once both races will be equal, and segregation will disappear.
This triumphant moment shared with a crowd of a quarter million people is a historic moment that will impact a generation and beyond. Kings’ speech is a perfect example of a peaceful and passionate protest done with great ardor and love for his people though non-violence. His speech will go down in history as a great achievement as to how protest through dialogue should be handled. His dream has impacted many lives of many people and not just of African Americans. Like Moses in the bible, with his hard work and dedication, he liberated his people captive and restrained of rights and freedoms they should have had in the first place. These “negros” (King 99) are now “free at last; thank God almighty, we are free at last” (King 101).
King, Martin Luther, Jr. “I Have a Dream.” The Norton Anthology of African AmericanLiterature. Eds. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Nellie Y. McKay. New York: W.W. Norton
& Company, 2004. 107-109. Print.